Dartmouth researchers test 'smart spaces' using light to send data

Researchers around the world are experimenting with light rather than radio waves to transmit high-speed data, and now researchers at Dartmouth College are developing what they believe are the first "smart spaces" that separate shadows from light in real time.

The integrated visible light communication project, or iVLC, is the first time an integrated networking and sensing environment has been proposed for sending information by light, according to a press release.

The smart spaces feature an interplay of algorithms, ceiling-mounted LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and light sensors embedded in floors and in smart devices. These smart spaces track users' gestures and separate shadows from light, enabling a continuous flow of data wirelessly not only between personal computers but smart devices in rooms, buildings, trains and other indoor places.

"We imagine that all future indoor spaces will take advantage of the ubiquity of lights as a medium that integrates communication and passive sensing," says Xia Zhou, the project's principal investigator and an assistant professor of computer science who is co-director of the DartNets (Dartmouth Networking and Ubiquitous Systems) Lab. For more, see this release and this abstract.